New children's bookshop for Richmond

New children's bookshop for Richmond

Former booksellers of the Lion & Unicorn Bookshop (L&UB) are planning to open a new children’s bookshop, called The Alligator’s Mouth, in Richmond, south-west London.

It is hoped that the new children’s shop will open later this month, if former L&UB manager Tony West and his business partner, former L&UB colleague Margaret Wallace-Jones, can get it up and running.

The shop will open in the space formerly occupied by bookshop W&A Houben—which closed in August—on Church Walk.

It will sell mainly children’s titles, alongside toys and games. West and Wallace-Jones will be joined by their former L&UB colleague John Bittles. Between them, the trio have more than 40 years’ worth of bookselling experience.

West said: “The name is inspired by a Lemony Snicket quote: ‘A book is like an alligator’s mouth: if you see one open, you will probably disappear inside.’  

“When [L&UB] closed it was very sad for all concerned, and we were getting the message that we needed to carry on somehow. Margaret and I got so much out of recommending books to children, and we felt it was important to carry on.”

Wallace-Jones said publishers had been “very supportive” of the venture. “We are passionate about children’s books, but we will also sell teen and late teen titles,” she said.

Richmond-based L&UB closed last year after 36 years in business. Its former owner, Jenny Morris, said she decided to terminate the lease after “unsustainable” rent increases in recent years.